Sports in brief…

Published 1:27 pm Wednesday, May 27, 2020

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Chase Elliott gained a measure of revenge against Kyle Busch on Tuesday night — and then let him know about.

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Elliott snapped Busch’s seven-race Truck Series winning streak and collected a $100,000 bounty at Charlotte Motor Speedway before imitating Busch’s victory celebration after the race by bowing to the camera.

Busch was upset over a splitter problem that caused problems for his No. 51 Toyota all night long.

The win comes six days after Busch wrecked Elliott in a Cup Series race at Darlington and two days after Elliott’s costly decision to pit late in the Coca-Cola 600, opening the door for Brad Keselowski to steal an almost certain win from him had the race stayed green.


NEW YORK (AP) — A rookie at the major league minimum would make a higher percentage of his salary than multimillionaire stars like Mike Trout or Gerrit Cole under a six-tier, sliding-scale proposal by big-league teams that players found “extremely disappointing.”

Major League Baseball made the proposal to the players’ union during a digital meeting rather than the 50-50 revenue-sharing plan that owners initially approved for their negotiators on May 11, two people familiar with the plan told The Associated Press.

In addition, the union said “the sides also remain far apart on health and safety protocols” aimed at starting the pandemic-delayed season around the Fourth of July. The sides have been grappling with how to aim for an opening day originally scheduled for March 26 but pushed back because of the new coronavirus.

Salaries in the major leagues range from $563,500 at the minimum to $36 million each for Trout, the three-time MVP outfielder on the Los Angeles Angels, and Cole, the pitcher signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent this offseason.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics are placing their scouts and a significant number of other front office employees on furlough, suspending pay for minor leaguers, and cutting the salaries of other executives as part of a cost-cutting move in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A’s owner John Fisher announced the moves in a rare public statement on what he called a “tremendously difficult day.”

The furloughs for the scouts and other front office personnel will begin next week, although the team’s amateur scouts are expected to stay on through the draft on June 10-11.

Minor leaguers will stop receiving $400 weekly stipends next week.

The A’s will continue to pay the health care, 401k, and pension costs for their employees.

The team also will cut pay for all front office employees making more than $60,000, with the biggest cuts coming to the highest-paid employees.


NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL will abandon the rest of the regular season and go straight into the playoffs with 24 teams instead of 16 — if it is able to resume play.

The decision, announced by Commissioner Gary Bettman, is no guarantee that games are coming back. The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association must still figure out health and safety protocols and solve other issues.

Still, ironing out the format and narrowing down its two potential playoff host cities to a list of 10 represents significant progress since global sports were largely shut down in March as the coronavirus outbreak turned into a pandemic.

Play could resume in late July or early August, with the Stanley Cup Final in September or even later.

Groups of 12 teams representing each of the two conferences will be limited to playing in two cities, yet to be determined, with three-week training camps opening no earlier than July 1. Voluntary workouts could begin in early June.

Earlier this week, the league and NHLPA issued extensive protocols once players are allowed to return to their facilities. They include a maximum of six players on the ice at a time, no contact, and no coaches for voluntary workouts.

Teams will be responsible for testing during those workouts and training camp, with the league taking over when games begin. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said players would be tested for COVID-19 daily.


DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons are beginning a search for a candidate who could become the team’s general manager, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced its plans. Ed Stefanski, a senior advisor to owner Tom Gores, has been running basketball operations for the Pistons and will remain as the team’s top basketball executive.

Detroit is moving toward adding a general manager to the front office as well.

The GM spot for the Pistons has been vacant since the team overhauled its front office two years ago. Stan Van Gundy had been the team’s coach and team president, with Jeff Bower serving as GM.

After the Pistons moved on from Van Gundy in 2018, Stefanski took over the front office and Dwane Casey became the coach.

Detroit hired Malik Rose as an assistant general manager in 2018, but there has been no official GM.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two horses from the barn of two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert have tested positive for a banned substance, according to published reports.

The New York Times and Louisville Courier-Journal cited unidentified sources in reporting the positive tests that occurred during the recent meet at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

According to the Times, one of the horses to test positive was Charlatan, an undefeated colt considered to be a top contender for the Belmont Stakes on June 20.

That race will open this year’s Triple Crown series, which has been rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Charlatan won a split-division of the Arkansas Derby on May 2.

The Times reported Baffert’s other horse to test positive is Gamine, a 3-year-old filly who won at Oaklawn on the same day. The newspaper said both horses tested positive for lidocaine, a regulated anesthetic widely used in equine medicine.

Lidocaine is considered a Class 2 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, and use of it carries a penalty of a 15- to a 60-day suspension and a fine of $500 to $1,000 for a first offense, The Times said.